Clergy Congregation Prefect Writes to Priests

Urges Them to Take Time for Silence, Despite Busy Schedules

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 24, 2010 (Zenit.org).- As priests in a particular way feel the busyness of the Christmas season, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza is encouraging them to also find time to pause in silence before the mystery of God's birth.

The prefect of the Congregation for Clergy made this recommendation in a message to priests for Christmas.

"May the diligent work of these days, for which the Lord and the Church are profoundly grateful to you, not impede your pausing in silence and with amazed and profound adoration before that Mystery, on which the salvation of the world and our own priestly existence radically depend," the prefect told them.

Cardinal Piacenza affirmed that he is asking the "Light that is coming into the world for the gift of holy priests for the Church of the third millennium."

And he noted Benedict XVI's Christmas address to the Roman Curia, in which the Pope "stressed in a special way the gift that was the Year for Priests."

Acknowledging the "great troubles" that characterized the year, given the scandal of sexual abuse by clergy, Cardinal Piacenza spoke of the Holy Father's invitation to penance.

The cardinal exhorted the priests: "Kneeling before the cave of Bethlehem, contemplating the Word made flesh and listening to his cry, full of tenderness and at the same time prophetic, we beg, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and of St. Joseph, her spouse most chaste, that the Lord do great things in his Body, which he always wants young, renewed, resplendent and missionary."